The mysterious artist emerges tells of her musical upbringing and unveils her high-octane pop…
“’Underneath’ is about facing uncertainty head on. I embrace it and fight it at the same time,” explains Tishmal, the exciting new pop artist behind the track who clearly wears her heart on her sleeve. “I feel like I am always struggling with that uncertainty and paradox in life. In relationships and friendships, you can love someone with your whole heart but there is no guarantee that they will always love you back. That vulnerability can be mentally consuming.”
Her aforementioned single is a high-octane concoction of pop with a darker lyrical edge. Tishmal collaborated with producers Mason Porter and Christian Darais in order to bring the song to life. “I love everything they create. We were hanging out in the studio after a recording session [when] one of my producers played a clip of an idea he had. I immediately had this picture of water flow into my head and the melody too. I sang it into my phone and wrote the rest of the song out at home.
“It took me longer than usual to finish writing it, but my gut was telling me not to give up on the song. I then brought it back to the studio to work on. We joke about how we went down multiple rabbit holes to find the right fit for production. We tried like four different grooves before finding the right feel. After that, the rest of the sounds all fell into place!”
Next came the incredibly cinematic video to the track which saw Tishmal dunk herself into copious amounts of water. It also gave her the opportunity to dip her toes into the creative aspect of her visuals. “I had been following the work of Nick Rush and Paradox Digital for a while before we actually got to collaborate. It turned out Christian is a part of their video team and is best friends with Nick, so all of us working together felt like the natural next step.
I realized that my songs might help people heal in the way I’ve been healed
“I was stoked! I had all these ideas and images saved on my phone. We got together in our first meeting to talk about the music video concepts and a lot of our imagery and ideas were the same. My songs often stem from my dreams, my nightmares, and my deep thoughts when I’m alone. I wanted the video to reflect that and I’m so impressed with what they created.” The result is a moody and luminescent late night detour to a leisure centre where things get a little dark, marking a canny similarity to the music Tishmal creates.
Music itself was not something that Tishmal had ever considered pursuing as a career until she was already in college studying for a degree. “I was doing the pre-med route, but I was feeling super off balance inside. Walking home from class, I was deep in thought and asked God what I was supposed to do. It hit me hard how music had saved and healed me so many times. “Open your eyes!” Songwriting came naturally to me- it was what I did while procrastinating my physiology exams. I was overwhelmed by my epiphany, but I realized that my songs might help people heal in the way I’ve been healed.”
Tishmal is clearly a believe in fate, her spirituality closely entwined with her upbringing in Luiseño culture. When she was twelve, her father gave her her Native name of “Tishmal”, a moment of her life so far that is incredibly important to her. “Having a Native name is one of the many ways my family keeps our Luiseño culture alive. It’s a really special thing for us. It’s an honor to be reminded of where I come from. I feel like Tishmal is who comes out in the songs, it’s the most honest part of me.”
Tishmal’s latest single ‘Underneath’ is available now.
Did you have a musical upbringing? Is your family musically inclined?
My siblings and I were raised on classic rock. Everyone in our family can sing and jam on an instrument. We have family jam nights, covering The Beatles and Heart. Thanks to my parents- my mom is a pianist and my dad is a composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist.
I have always been a songwriter. I used to make up songs to sing my sister to sleep when we were kids, and I got more serious with writing as a teenager. I used it as a way to figure out my feelings and tell stories.
What artists have had a lasting impact on you and why? Do they influence the music you create now?
I grew up listening to the Beatles, Michael Jackson, the B52s, Alicia Keys (All CDs I played over and over on my Walkman). Stevie Wonder continually inspired me by his poetry and the color chords he plays with. Regina Spektor was big for me in high school-she broke a lot of rules but was still charting in pop music. In my adult years, SOHN, M83, Zola Blood, and TALA really hooked me into the electronic genre. I also love listening to the radio in my car; it’s always the oldies stations. I love looking back. There is so much to learn.
You play a lot of live shows. What do you love most about performing and what can readers expect from your live show?
I love seeing people’s faces in the audience. I have always loved that. Even in my days of being a theater geek, I would squint my eyes and try to look at the audience through the blinding stage lights. Again, I want people to feel and have some sort of cathartic experience; to be moved in some way by the music. I think seeing their faces reminds me that we are having the experience together, and it’s all for them.
My favorite thing about our live show is the synths and creating the electronic textures right there for the audience to feel.
Do you have any more live dates in the pipeline?
In the meantime we will continue to play live shows locally in Utah, and we have plans for a tour to San Diego, LA and Vegas next year.
Are you working on an EP or album? Is there anything you can tell us to whet our appetite?
My EP is set to release in the next month or so! The group of songs is like step inside my head. The music floats and turns with ethereal melodies and heavy beats. Much like “Underneath”, the lyrics ask hard questions- a lot of which I don’t have answers for. I am so thrilled to share these songs.